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Event: Area00 Singapore Players Gathering
By Tabitha Tan

Crowds Of Fans Turn Up To Show Support For Area00

Singapore - Feb 24, 2002

Excitement filled the air at a local LAN center as over 70 fans of multiplayer web-based strategic aerial combat game, Area00, gathered to discuss issues pertaining to the game and meet Area00's designer and programmer, Tony Choe, in person. At a time where 3D games with awe-inspiring graphics are the norm, it's rare to see such excitement over a web-based game.

Players of the game start out as mercenary pilots who attempt to win fame, glory and a high rank for themselves by flying missions and fighting with other players online. When asked, most of the Area00's players cite the game's high interactivity, ability to generate excitement in combat and the fact that it is effective in bringing people together to play in groups as the game's main attractions.

Thoughts From The Players

"I like the dog-fighting?you can clear out other people's wing," grinned Edwin, 20, a student.

Indeed, for some the thrill of shooting opponents out of the sky in their own customised plane is enough to keep them coming back for more. Others, like Daniel, 19, who is still studying, enjoy some of the game's more strategic elements.

"I feel it's (the game) got more to do with diplomacy," he said. "You can join up with other "wings" (ie. a group of planes) and form alliances to knock out your opponents."

Currently, according to players of the game, Koreans and Singaporeans are rated as some of the most skilled players of Area00. Not surprisingly, a lot of fans want to see inter-server wars in the future, where players from different countries can pit their skills against opponents from other countries. It's really surprising how high emotions can run when the dog-fight begins, especially when our local players get deeply involved and passionate about a game.

"Singaporeans are a very determined lot? We have LONG memories," laughed Daniel. And all three guys agree (with no small degree of amusement) that our local gamers' ability to "Ji Chou" (ie. remember a vendetta) is indeed legendary. However, they also admitted that it is this "never say die" spirit that has helped our players to rise rapidly through the ranks to become some of the best Area00 players around.

It's Hard Being A Game Developer? Sometimes.

"I worked alone for almost a year before launching Area00," said Tony Choe, the original designer and programmer of Area00. Originally Area00 was to be launched as Area99, but since Tony only managed to finish the game on the 31th of December 1999, he decided to call it Area00 instead to commemorate the year 2000 when it was released properly.

"I like military warfare," said Tony, when asked about his inspiration for Area00. His ultimate dream is to make an extremely competitive multiplayer game where all kinds of military units, apart from aircraft, are able to participate in mass warfare. Not surprisingly, Tony's two other previous games, U-planet and Hannibal and Scipio are games that have strong elements of strategic warfare.

However, life as a game developer is hard, and because Tony is not currently working as a full-time game developer, he can only devote 1 hour per day to do the design and programming for Area00. Yet, one has to admire his determination in carrying out his dream of making Area00 something that gamers around the world will enjoy and remember.

Fortunately he is aided in his effort by Darin Bicknell, who helps him in further designing the game and in collecting the feedback from players all over the world.

"I'd say that Area00 is a game that is shaped a lot by its players," said Darin. Some of the gamers' feedback has found their way into the game."

Inspired by his own childhood experiences in his father's airplane, Darin brings to Area00 a lot of technical know-how from actual airplanes. His meeting with Tony some time back as resulted in a dynamic partnership that has helped Area00 move in the right direction.

Share with us your comments and opinions


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The dynamic duo

"So here's what we're gonna do..."

Shots of the crowd





Ryan "Deadend" Davey receiving his
lucky draw prize.


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